John McDonnell pledges to end PFI 'scandal'

The Labour leader has been greeted as a hero by many members at the party's annual conference in Brighton this week, following his surprise success at June's snap general election.

"Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that under his leadership, Labour will sign no new PFI deals".

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell used his speech at the Labour Party conference to reiterate a point made by the Financial Conduct Authority that there are now over three million people in the United Kingdom trapped by what the regulator calls "persistent debt".

The controversial funding contracts were widely used to build hospitals, schools and other public sector buildings.

Labour has been threatened with a ban on holding future conferences in Brighton unless it tackles anti-Semitism.

He argued that Mr McDonnell "is referring to the health finance" when he says Labour Government will being an end to all public contracts.

Liz Jenkins, partner at law firm Clyde & Co, said the policy, although possible, would bring with it a "significant" rise in finance costs.

According to his prepared remarks, Labour's secretary for the media will tell the party faithful that Jeremy Corbyn's 2017 election campaign used social media to get around a "dirty tricks" campaign from Murdoch's tabloid The Sun.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the bosses' lobby group Confederation of British Industry (CBI), was appalled.

"Working people would pay higher taxes and we would spend more and more on debt repayments instead of public services".

"It means that no-one will ever pay more in interest than their original loan", McDonnell said. I don't think there will be, but you never know.

"The Financial Conduct Authority in April proposed a set of less-radical measures to encourage companies to reduce the number of customers in persistent debt. This includes waiving or cancelling interest or charges when customers can not afford any of the options proposed to repay their balance." said an FCA spokesperson.

In the run-up to his re-election previous year she tweeted: "One day in the far distant future we'll look back and we won't laugh, because this isn't bloody amusing".

McDonnell, who once listed "generally fomenting the overthrow of capitalism" among his interests in the Who's Who directory of influential people, also took aim at the wealthy, bankers and large corporations.

Labour has also committed to not signing any more PFI deals and to develop alternative public sector models for funding infrastructure. While the Tories remain stuck in the language and values of the Victorian era, we are determined that Britain embraces the possibilities of technological change - scary though they may be.

  • Rogelio Becker